today’s elijah :: trying out kiwano

paul has been very helpful doing some grocery shopping when i’m not feeling well.

he’s so adventurous that sometimes he brings home some food that i don’t know what to do with.

the other day, he came home with this african fruit called ‘kiwano‘.

the two boys liked it and finished it all making loud sucking noises. according to them, it tasted like a banana.

i’d have been more adventurous if i wasn’t pregnant. but for now, i’d rather eat a real banana.

summer diary, age 7 :: bath with tomoko

bath with tomoko

july 22, wednesday 1981 cloudy

“yesterday, i bathed with tomoko-chan and she washed my head.  it felt very good.”

i still remember the frosted glass with snowflake pattens in the bathroom in the house we lived in from age 5 to 14.  tomoko was the daughter of my mom’s friend.  i think she was older than my brother, who is 3 1/2 years older than me.  she was, my mom and i think, my brother’s first love.  she stayed over a few days during the summer break.  i think she broke my brother’s heart.

she wore a beautiful baby blue long skirt.  her long hazelnut hair swayed as she went upstairs with my brother.  she had big eyes with long eyelashes, like alice from wonderland.  every time she smiled she was like an angel.

maybe she was my first love too.

summer diary, age 7 :: bad medicine

summer diary book, 1981 front cover

my mom sent me a box full of my old diaries, essays, letters and poems.  this is one of the picture diaries that i had to keep as an assignment during summer vacation when i was in grade one.  it looks like i drew it with crayon.  the summer vacation began on july 20 and ended on august 31.  i wrote a diary entry under the drawing.

summer diary, july 21, 1981


“i was forced to take medicine by mother yesterday.  so i threw up.  after i threw up, my throat hurt.”

what a touching story!  can you feel the maternal love?

medicine in japan is very bitter.  Kong Qiu said “good medicine tastes bitter in the mouth…”.  for that, japanese pharmaceuticals are doing an excellent job.

even the kid’s medicine i had to take was also bitter.  they came in liquid and powder form.  my mom used to wrap powder medicine in “オブラート (oblaat)”, which is a tasteless water-soluble gel made of starch.  that way, i wouldn’t taste the bitterness of the medicine.  liquid medicine, on the other hand, had no way to distract from its bad taste — a sickening mixture of cola, cinnamon, dirt and toothpaste in a purple-brown color.  as i got older and more mischievous, i would pour the liquid medicine down the sink and tell my mom that i took it.  i was successfully “taking” the medicine happily in this way until one day when i poured so much down the drain that my mom noticed and figured out what was going on.

i learned that i should never EVER tell a lie to my mom and to stay healthy so that i wouldn’t have to take medicine.

canadian kids don’t have to go through such a rough childhood.

children’s tylenol in canada is flavored cherry, bubblegum, or banana — you name it.  elijah likes the super-sweet medicine so much that he asks for a second helping — saying “more, more” — a red carpet to happy drug addiction.

i can’t wait to introduce him the king of bitter medicine, the original “SEIRO-GAN“!

today’s elijah :: rainbow world shirt

paul and i found this shirt at nishimatsu-ya, a baby clothes shop in japan. my mom and my sister-in-law, mayumi-chan, kept telling us to go check out this shop — lots of cute baby clothes, with reasonable prices.

so one day we dropped in to do some shopping. we were happy to find that most of the clothes they carry have awesome engrish on them. we had such a great time we ended up going back there again and again.

elijah seems a little skeptical, but that’s his usual face so we don’t worry about it.

rainbow world very wonderful
nice the sky happily
we are all well so special
smile big sky

on the back of the shirt, it says ‘highest’.

(photos:: seven month old elijah)


“nothing brings me more happiness when someone i love knows my sweet spot.”

that’s what i thought when paul brought me this spam museum brochure as a omiyage (souvenir) from his annual football trip to minneapolis.

i like this sort of present. probably he came across this brochure somewhere and picked it up because he knows i’ll like this sort of thing.

(click the image to view close up)

this brochure for the austin (minnesota) spam museum promises hours of SPAMUSEMENT for the whole family. you can try out spam dishes, put on a lab coat and hairnet to make your own spam, and many other SPAMTASTIC exhibits. the whole brochure is written like that. it’s SPAMAZING! (sorry)

i’m very curious what’s in spam, exactly. i’ve never eaten it, or even opened a can. but everytime i walk down the spam aisle there’s a strong urge growing inside me to reach out and buy a can. but i can’t. i can eat a can of tuna, but a can of pork? that’s a whole new world, my friend. the catchy design always brings back the strong urge to just buy one and get it over with. my curiosity continues.

(click the image to view close up)

besides this new addition to my spam collection, i also own a mini spam cookbook. i found it at a indigo bookstore in kingston. there were bunch of them scattered in a sales wagon AS IF no one would want them.

this “spam the cookbook” is a SPAMALGAMATION of recipes: spam casserole, spam macaroni & cheese, spam clam chowder and spamusubi (sushi). basically just by adding a can of spam, an ordinary dish turns into (bam!) a spam dish! how magical. can you feel the power of spam?

well, someday when i finally have the guts to buy one and actually open it, at least i know what to do with it. i’ll make spam-takoyaki!



i found a pretty shop called “paper umbrella” in regina. the owner is very friendly. he sells pretty japanese paper as well as other stylish kitschy items. i bought a tiny japanese notebook made by kokuyo. it’s only 4 x 2 3/4″. of course, i bought a white one :)

among other things, i bought a bag of scrap japanese paper. i don’t make scrapbooks, but i can’t help being attracted by the idea of “scraps” – the useless and unwanted, full of imperfection. they could have been thrown away, but now they are with me. these strips of paper on only about 2-3cm wide. they’re the cutoff ends of bigger sheets of paper. i arranged the strips side by side, and took a photo of them. now they’re on my blog.

in a similar way, i find $1 store items very attractive. most of the stuff sold in dollar stores is, as you know, real junk. but some it is still very attractive to me. these cheap consumer goods weren’t made to be perfect. the workers were probably paid unfairly and had no time to make their products look good at all. but sometimes, their nonchalant efforts make a delicious item. for example, this emergency raincoat. i don’t know why they made this — i don’t even understand the concept of this design. and why is the guy running? but for some reason, this just looked delicious. i had to have it. now it sits on my desk in front of me.

someone’s junk is someone else’s treasure.

emergency raincoat

i found this “emergency raincoat” at the dollar store in kingston. not the one with the fancy red sign but the one humbly located next to subway on princess street.

it’s raining hard today in saskatoon. i’ve noticed that canadians don’t like to use umbrellas. so tough. in japan, i never left home without my umbrella. never!! all japanese have to carry umbrellas every day — it’s required by the japanese constitution.

for people in other countries who don’t like to block the rain with mechanical devices such as an umbrella, this “emergency raincoat” would be an ideal substitute.

the downside of wearing raincoats is that it’s very hard to avoid looking lame. thanks to the recent improvements in fashion industry, there are more and more design-oriented raincoats available in canada. there are raincoats in bold, catchy colours, some with geometical patterns on them. that’s wonderful.

but may i say, they’re missing the whole point of raincoats? a stylish raincoat makes it too obvious that you’ve taken the time to find the perfect raincoat for a rainy day. and it’s clear that the only reason you’re carefree to walk down the street in the rain is because of that raincoat. other people, without raincoats, will say “if it weren’t for your raincoat, you’d be looking like a drowned rat, too!” by being obviously too well prepared, you deserve this sort of criticism.

the key point with raincoats is: keep it subtle. that’s why this emergency raincoat is made of transparent clear plastic. no-one will be able to tell that you’re wearing a raincoat (unless they get really close up). you’ll walk down the street in the rain like it’s just another beautiful sunny day. nonchalant, yet flawless. just like magic!

ladies will say: “who is this gentleman looking real sharp even in this heavy rain? what’s his secret?” gentlemen will say: “what a courageous lady, walking in the rain! i want her to be my wife.”

with this raincoat in your bag or in your pocket, you’re all set. you have no fear of the rain, and you’ll grab everyone’s hearts.

please, be prepared. if you do, you’ll be as proud as this happy man, walking in the rain.